What's new
What's new

Bridgeport BOSS 8 retrofit - Build Log

eriksalo

Plastic
Joined
Jan 22, 2009
Location
Boulder, Colorado
All; A couple of years ago I retrofitted an Okada VM-500 machine to use LinuxCNC. The learning curve for me was pretty steep. I only made it work because of Jon from Pico Electronics walking me through the whole thing. It's been a solid performer and I have several videos up on youtube with some tips for new users.

Fast forward to today. A friend of mine wants to convert his Bridgeport BOSS 8 machine and I'm going to help him through it. He's decided to use the MESA cards. I'll help him with it but want to say again how unbelievably helpful Jon from Pico was to me, I can't recommend him highly enough! The Pico electronics have performed perfectly and reliably as well.

This thread will be our build log so stay tuned.... Here are some pictures of the machine.

IMG_2554.jpgIMG_2553.jpg
IMG_2551.jpg
 

eriksalo

Plastic
Joined
Jan 22, 2009
Location
Boulder, Colorado
Here's the "buy log" and rough sketch for the overall project. Please have a look and let me know if I've missed anything....

Buying Stuff - Here's what you need:

MESA electronics: "Plug-n-go" kit with a 7177-5i25 cards. I'd get a "low profile" PCIe card and probably a DIN mount option (Should be ~$288, 7I77D-5I25 PNG KIT w/ low profile PCIe option)

Suitable touch screen monitor

Computer: The computer will have to be dedicated to the task and run Linux. It doesn't need to have a lot of horsepower. Only restriction is you need one PCIe slot so an intel NUC will not work. If you want a small one, .I'd buy something like this:ASRock J4105M Intel Celeron Quad-Core Processor J4105 (up to 2.5 GHz) Micro ATX Motherboard / CPU Combo - Newegg.com , Would need memory, a power supply and a case in addition.

You would also be perfectly well served with buying almost ANY used PC on eBay or Craigslist..

Optional: Phase converter for spindle motor: (if you want one). For a 1HP motor, this unit should work. It's $63. 0.75KW 1HP 110V Variable Frequency Drive Inverter CNC VFD VSD Single To 3 Phase | eBay. Maybe better to get a 2HP or 3HP version for margin since the cost is basically the same 2HP AC220V/1.5KW Variable Frequency Drive VFD Inverter Single Phase To 3 Phase | eBay. I have ~5 of these units now and they all work fine.

Optional: Pendant. I've valued having a wireless pendant to move the machine around for finding zero. I couldn't find the exact one I have but it's similar to this one:
WHB04B-4 XHC 4 Axis Wireless Mach3 Remote MPG Pendent CNC pendant Handwheel【USA】 651312400745 | eBay $88.


Building Stuff:

Overall: The first step once you have the parts is to mount a PC and monitor somewhere and to mount the MESA card inside the wiring cabinet. Once you have a working PC and a MESA board, we can work to get it all the other stuff connected properly and then programmed.

Computer: Once you get the monitor and PC, you will need to mount them and wire them into the system. Decide where you want the monitor and mount it in. If you put the PC in the head behind the monitor, you will need to wire the parallel cable into your wiring cabinet. If the PC is in the cabinet, you will need the monitor / power / usb from the head to the cabinet.

Mesa board: Mount the Mesa board in your wiring cabinet. I recommended you get the DIN mount version and I have plenty of DIN mount rail left over. Plus I have a bunch of DIN mount terminals that might be helpful.

Servo control: The key part is you will need to get your servo's under your control. This might be trivial, as simple as finding the +/- 10V inputs on your servo controllers but you need to get to the point where the servo motors are moving with a +/- 10V signal.

Sero feedback. I assume your motors have a quadrature encoder. You need to figure out what they output for position and how to wire that into the Mesa board.

eStop: There should be a "Normally Open" set of terminals on all of the key components that close when the component is powered on and happy. You will want to daisy chain all of these together and ultimately into the Mesa card. If one component faults, the system will halt.

Limit switches: Wire the limits into the Mesa card.

Programming Stuff:

Programming the PC: I'll handle this. Install Linux and optimize the settings for low latency. Install LinuxCNC.

Teach the system about the hardware: Make an .ini file for the Mesa cards, set up the servo loops. Map the physical inputs (limit switches, quadrature, estop, etc) to the corresponding logical inputs. Map the logical outputs (control voltage, eStop enable, etc) to the corresponding physical outputs.

Tune the servo's: Get the PID settings right for each axis. Linux CNC has some tools to make this easier.

Enable the Pendant: If you have one, this takes some programming
 

Duc

Aluminum
Joined
Aug 20, 2013
Location
ABQ, NM
Years ago I went on a similar path with a Bridgeport boss 5 machine. Worked really well till I upgraded to a Fadal mill for the enclosure part. Used a 7i77 mesa card to drive everything. I still have the config files if you would like those to start off with.

System was configured for 4th axis
Servo motors
Air brake for the spindle
Lube pump would only turn on if an axis was in motion
Motion delayed till spindle was at speed.
 

legendboy

Cast Iron
Joined
Jan 14, 2008
Location
Canada
I am not a big fan of BOB's. I used Eding CNC motion controller, DMM AC motors and drives and removed the vari speed drive completely from my Boss8. Installed sheaves and bushings 1:2 and 2:1 on the long rotor shaft. (I also had it balanced) I sent my spindle down to CM Spindle and had them regrind the taper and put a special bearing stack on, can run my mill to 6800rpm and stop it in less than 3 seconds with a 40ohm wire wound breaking resistor. Running an ABB acs350 vfd. I did have to use line reactor to the motor to stop random EMI estops.

I prefer to get rid of ALL the old electronics and replace with a new panel and components.

I think it only cost me a few grand to set my machine up this way. Super reliable and accurate. No problems with the control at all.
 

Duc

Aluminum
Joined
Aug 20, 2013
Location
ABQ, NM
Shoot me a email in PM. Folder with all my config files is about 24 megs.

Forgot I also got rid of the RPM adjustment and went with a single pulley. Not something I recommended since you will lose some torque in different ranges.


System is still owed by someone in NC.

20180307_185021.jpgKnee mill.jpg
 








 
Top